Opinion: Pixar movie captures the essence of Day of the Dead



A woman dressed in a catrina costume poses for a portrait during the annual Catrinas Parade, as part of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, culminating with visits to the graves of departed loved ones on Nov. 1 and 2. The figure of a skeleton wearing broad-brimmed hat was first done as a satirical engraving by artist Jose Guadalupe Posada sometime between 1910 and his death in 1913, to poke fun at women who pretended to be European by dressing elegantly and as a critique of social stratification. CHRISTIAN PALMA/AP.

Cristo Dulom

Coco is a vibrant, deep and aurally pleasing movie. It is a fun story and has a plethora of likeable characters. The movie illustrates the traditions of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in an enjoyable way to all audiences and includes a healthy balance of both English and Spanish whilst not diminishing the Mexican culture that the movie focuses on.

The story of Coco covers important themes like living up to their family expectations versus their own wants. Miguel, the protagonist of the movie, struggles with his family’s want for him to be a shoemaker as he wants to be a musician. It also preaches an important message of respecting history and family past, as important lessons can be learned from elders in a family. The strong roots in the importance of family throughout the movie make watching it a fun time for any person.

Story aside, the images in the movie are breathtaking. The vibrant, warm and cool colors that run throughout the depiction of the Land of the Dead (which most of the movie takes place in) create a simultaneous presence of the life in the afterlife with the warm oranges, and separation from life which the blues and purples embody. This interesting artistic perspective invokes the important connection the Mexican culture has to the afterlife and the dead whilst still maintaining the barrier that exists between life and death.

All the humans that are in the Land of the Dead have the iconic calavera (sugar skull) design with intricate ornamentations and painting running across all their faces. The spirit animals in the Land of the Dead are colored with vibrant, neon colors that fit perfectly with the popping images that Coco produces throughout the movie.

Simply listening to the movie is a delight. The iconic Son Jarocho guitar and Mexican-esque music draws the audience straight into the movie’s atmosphere. Fun and upbeat songs like “Un Poco Loco” and the intense ballad “La Llorona” truly shape the feeling of the movie. The songs of the movie immerse the audience in the Mexican culture, and still does not ostracize the English-speaking audience as there are a few songs that have English parts to them. These songs build the bridge between English and Spanish and can have anyone humming the fun tunes down the street.

Coco is a great movie that captures the essence of Day of the Dead, and presents it in a fun and easily-digestible way for all audiences across the world. The movie features important messages that Day of the Dead teaches, such as respecting elders and family tradition and how these messages are compatible with modern and changing cultures.